Rico Brogna hired as next coach of Notre Dame-Fairfield

Rico Brogna, during his stint in the Arizona Diamondbacks organization on February 27, 2010 in Tucson, Arizona. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

Former Major Leaguer and Connecticut football/baseball star Rico Brogna has been named the next football coach at Notre Dame-Fairfield, athletic director Rob Bleggi announced in a statement today.

Brogna, 41, starred in football and basketball at Watertown in the 1980s and went on to have a nine-year career in Major League Baseball with the Detroit Tigers, New York Mets, Philadelphia Phillies, Boston Red Sox, and Atlanta Braves.

A press conference introducing Brogna is scheduled for 10:30 a.m. Wednesday morning.

“I am thrilled to be a part of the Notre Dame family,” Brogna said in a statement. “There is a very strong tradition and history here at Notre Dame and I am excited to help return Notre Dame football to the level of success the school expects it to be.

“I am humbled an honored to have this job at one of the finest schools in the state of Connecticut.”

Brogna has been a coaching journeyman since retiring as baseball player in 2001. In high school, he has coached Kennedy football, Nonnewaug football and Watertown basketball. In college, he was the head coach of Post baseball and a volunteer wide receivers coach at Wesleyan.

Last summer, Brogna managed the Arizona Diamondbacks’ Double-A Mobile BayBears to a 75-62 record and was promoted to director of player development on Oct. 15. He resigned his new post three weeks later.

Via email, Brogna said he’s officially retired from pro baseball, which will allow him to coach Notre Dame “year-round.” He added that he would also help baseball coach Paul Fabbri.

Brogna thanked Notre Dame president Fr. Bill Sangiovanni, Principal Chris Cipriano and Bleggi for the opportunity.

“I am absolutely thrilled at the prospect of welcoming Rico Brogna to the Notre Dame athletic staff,” Sangiovanni said in the statement.

Cipriano said: “Rico understands the importance of success of our student-athletes both in the classroom and on the football field. He recognizes the importance of hard work, goal-setting and academic excellence. Not only will his background as a professional athlete serve to better our team, but more importantly, he will serve as an outstanding role model for our students.”

Bleggi said: “…I am very excited that Rico Brogna will be the news head football coach at Notre Dame. His character, coaching skills and leadership is exactly what we are looking for as we build Notre Dame football for the future. Not only will he be an asset to our football program but to the school as a whole.”

Brogna played football, basketball and baseball at Watertown and graduated in 1987. Recruited to be a quarterback at Clemson, he instead chose a career in pro baseball after being drafted by the Detroit Tigers with the 26th overall pick.

He made his MLB debut with the Tigers in 1992 and batted .269 with 106 home runs and 458 RBIs over eight seasons.

In his career at Watertown, Brogna threw for 6,083 yards (then a state record), 59 touchdown passes and also kicked 11 field goals. His 54-yarder in 1987 is the longest in state history and his 70 consecutive extra points is second all-time.

Sean Patrick Bowley

8 Responses

  1. Remmy says:

    I give him one or two years, max.

  2. football says:

    I will take the under.

  3. Jimmy says:

    Terrible hire by ND. He will bolt as soon as something better comes along. ND is becomes a coaching carousel.

  4. referee says:

    I guess ND wants the baseball smarts, or thought the two-fer was a bargain. Glory Days stats from the 80’s doesn’t make a coach in 2011. Going to be a long season. Speaks volumes about the school’s commitment to football.

  5. Sunday Sauce says:

    “Last summer, Brogna managed the Arizona Diamondbacks’ Double-A Mobile BayBears to a 75-62 record and was promoted to director of player development on Oct. 15. He resigned his new post three weeks later.” That seems strange. What circumstances did he resign under?

  6. bball says:

    What was coaching record at his previous 2 High Schools? Why isn’t he coaching baseball…isn’t he a baseball guy? Looks like they fell in love with the name and not the body of work. I take teh under…a one year wonder!!!

  7. Pro Coach says:

    Well lets give Rico a shot at this one..Although ND- Fairfield has a lack of big bodies on the “O” line. It is definitely a step up from Nonnewaug who had lack of total numbers as well as experienced seasoned players. You probably have one of the best “2” headed running back which was part of a 3 headed monster attack in the state with sophmores Nigile Beckford and Frankie Zumbo who averaged almost close to 350 yards per game the 2nd half of 2010 season. Both were All-Conference. IF he Rico is able to understand utilize the power and speed ogf these guys in an unprecedented running game which bsolutely necessary for the teams success. then he can slowly develope an adequate efficient short passing game. Time of possesion will be the key…especially against teams like MASUK who can score points at any time. Rico can also definitely help Coach Fabbri in the game of baseball which is an upgrade from the little league mentality that exists there now. Rico may be able to instill a leadership role and also teach proper mechanics,mindset instilling a winning attitude

  8. sports observer says:

    Hopefully Rico will be able to recruit some athletic students to ND, he certainly has the qualifications to coach, wish him and the program all the best. Regarding Pro Coach, sounds like he is the father of an underachieving athlete and to correct only N Beckford was all conference.